Today is January 12th of 2020 and it has been one of the best days ever! My host sister, Alba, and I went to so many beautiful places in Madrid! We first started our morning by going to a local cafe. In this cafe, Alba and I ordered some sandwiches with Spanish ham: a whole new experience for me. It was amazing. We then went to the main plaza to go shopping for around two hours. After that, we had lunch at around two pm. For this meal, we had the Spanish omelet (my new favorite dish) which has patatas in it! Next, we walked around the street for around another thirty minutes. We then took a taxi to the Royal Palace de Madrid — which Alba has never been to either. The palace was one of the most beautiful architectures I have ever seen in my whole entire life. We not only took so many photos but also took everything into our eyes. The ceilings were carved and decorated with gold images and the chandeliers were glossy and glittery just as if they were stars. At the end of the day, Alba and I got a taxi back to her casa and worked on our homework for a while. We then had dinner at nine pm and watched TV for a bit as we talked about our interests and programs like the TIE certificate. I am enjoying all aspects of this trip — even though I am still quite jetlagged because I came straight from Korea on the 11th — and definitely do not want to leave this place 🙁 Love españa and love intermission!!
Jolie: Today I went to El Escorial with my host student. El Escorial is a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school and hospital and was an old royal Spanish place. There were many beautiful artworks there but unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures of them. The artworks were very colorful despite being there for so many years. It was cold inside and outside the buildings. After that, we had lunch. One of the dishes we ordered that I really liked was called La Berenjena. It was fried eggplant with sweet brown sugar sauce and it was delicious! At night, I went ice skating with my host student, Julia, Kaitlin, and their host students. We skated for around an hour and then had dinner.
Sam: Well, for starters Ava and I slept for 14 hours which means that we got up at 2:00 pm! Our host family has blinders that block out the sun entirely which I’m entirely grateful for. Then, we ate breakfast and an hour later we had lunch with our host family. (Cereal for breakfast and spaghetti for lunch.) We watched The Devil Wears Prada during our siesta and are about to go out to see Madrid. Overall, today was very relaxed and needed after our trip to Spain.
Julia: Today I explored Madrid with my host family! It is quite a change of scenery from winter in Farmington, the weather in Madrid today was sunny with blue skies. We went to a famous and historic palace called the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid). It is the most beautiful and detailed place I have ever stepped foot into. The palace became the official home of the Spanish Monarchy in 1561 but is now only used for ceremonies. There was a major fire on Christmas Eve of 1734 that brought the palace to ruins, but was rebuilt in 1738 and finished in 1751. Several architects and artists were hired to make the palace beautiful, luxurious, and extremely representative of the Spanish monarchy. Every room, hallway, and painting has its own story to tell. One of the rooms, Salón Gasparini, took over 40 years to complete! All of the decoration, floors, and embroidery were impressively done by one artist, Martías Gasparini. This room was used for the King to get dressed in the presence of the court. The palace life seemed very good for the royal families in Spain. The amount of work and detail put into the decoration and architecture is unbelievable. I do not think there are any places nearly similar to the Palacio Real de Madrid in the United States. If I lived in the palace I feel like I would get lost since there are so many rooms and hallways. The palace shows that there is a lot of respect towards the Spanish monarchy and that art and architecture are really relevant in Spanish history and culture. We ate a lot of food today! Some of my favorites were fried shrimp, a fruit smoothie, bubble tea, and churros! The markets with seafood and churros were both very busy and are popular in Madrid. It has been really fun staying with my host family and getting to know them. They have been so welcoming and are giving me a perspective of life in Madrid! I have also really enjoyed hearing their views on the United States. I am so happy to be in Spain and see the world from a different lens!
Ava: ¡¡¡¡¡Bienvenidos!!!!! Our Spanish IM group finally made it to Spain after months of prep, a 2 hour bus ride to JFK, and a 6-hour plane. And even though we spent the first day fighting off sleep, it was still a really amazing and fulfilling day. Everyone got to meet their host sisters, and they were all so amazing and welcoming. The SEK school is really pretty and has really nice facilities. The classes were all really interesting and different experiences than the ones at home, so it was fun to observe. Sam and I went home with our host student and got to go have a snack at a local bakery which was really delicious. We are so tired from the long travel day and excited to get to bed!
Mariela: As Ava described, we had a long first day of traveling! When we got to SEK we met our host sisters and enjoyed bocadillos, small sandwiches made with Spanish bread and meat or cheese. After taking a tour of the school we shadowed our host students for the rest of their day. I got to experience Lengua, Visual Arts, French, and geography with Micaela (my host). We have a lot in common and bonded instantly. After school, I settled in, ate dinner with Micaela and her family, and finally, we shopped at the Gran Plaza before heading to bed. So excited for the rest of our adventure together.